Government blocks question on hate crimes and caste-based atrocities in Lok Sabha
Questioning the decision, Kannur MP and President of Congress Party in Kerala wrote to the Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla seeking the reason for disallowing his question
A question by Congress Lok Sabha MP K Sudhakaran to the Minister for Minority Affairs on the number of religious and caste-based atrocities in India was disallowed from being answered during the earlier Parliament session on February 10, 2022.
The Kerala MP wanted the ministry to provide the number of religion-based atrocities across India, number of deaths due to religion based atrocities and number of hate-crimes against minorities across the country. He had also asked whether the government was aware that cases of communal rioting had increased by 96% and caste riots by nearly 50% in 2020, and also if the union government was aware that that crimes against scheduled castes had increased by 9.4% and against scheduled tribes 9.3% in 2020.
Questioning the decision, Kannur MP and President of Congress Party in Kerala wrote to the Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla seeking the reason for disallowing his question. He stated in the letter that as per the National Crime Records Bureau, it has been reported that the cases of communal rioting increased by 96% and caste riots increased by nearly 50% in 2020. The NCRB report also highlighted that the crimes against Scheduled Castes have increased by 9.4% and Scheduled Tribes have increased by 9.3% in 2020.
“The parliamentary procedures and conventions have become mere means to achieve the aims of ruling Party. The Government spends too little time for the democratic niceties. They neither exhibit the willingness to listen to dissenting voices nor give them a space in the public discourse. That itself is against the spirit of democracy,” said Sudhakaran.
Over the last few sessions, several questions by MPs mainly from the Opposition have often been disallowed. In February 2022, the government had written to the Rajya Sabha Secretariat to disallow TMC MP Shanta Chhetri’s provisionally accepted question (PAQ) in the Upper House on the ‘Position of India in Democracy Index. She wanted to know the reason why India had slid to the 53rd position in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index and if the government was aware that it reflected India in poor light, and whether the government had taken steps to improve India’s ranking
In a letter to the Rajya Sabha Secretariat Wednesday, the Ministry of External Affairs had pointed out that the same question had been disallowed by the Ministry of Law and Justice during the monsoon session in July last year.
In December 2021, a question by Congress Rajya Sabha member KC Venugopal to the Minister of External Affairs on whether NRIs living abroad were harassed at airports and sent back, and if they were asked by the authorities to stop helping the farmers’ agitation, was provisionally admitted and scheduled to be answered on December 2, but dropped from the final list of questions for the day.
In Lok Sabha, once the notice for questions is received, ballots determine priority. Starred, unstarred and short notice questions are entered into software, separately. Next, the questions are examined for admissibility under Rules 41-44 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha. The ministries and departments have been divided into five groups (I to V) that have been allotted Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays respectively, so that each minister has one fixed day in the week for answering questions in Rajya Sabha and another day in Lok Sabha.